Tag Archives: exercise

Wonderful wildlife

At 3:00 p.m. yesterday, with school back in session, the Lake St. Clair Metro Park had few people but lots of wildlife, including these Canada geese, a crane and heron. I always feel fortunate to see a crane or heron, but to see both in one day was a joy.

Canada geese

Crane at the shore of the lake

Heron in the canal

Visit to PA

I want to Pennsylvania last week to visit friends, and my daily walk included the grounds at Eastern University where I took these pictures.

On the grounds of Eastern University
Beautiful colors
The creek that flows through campus
Decoration on top of a pillar on campus
These flowers were in front of a house across the street from my friends’ house.

Interpretative dancing

I did not know what to call it,

the way my body moved to the music,

first swaying smoothly and then shaking like a rag doll,

speeding up and slowing down,

depending on the song

and the day

and even the time of day,

feet gliding across the polished hardwood floors,

arms raised in protest and

then fluttering like the wings of a hummingbird

faster and faster

my own version of a whirligig.

Interpretative angst dancing someone suggested.

Yes, that’s it.

Tips for a relaxing staycation

I am taking a staycation—my first real vacation in almost two years. There are many positive aspects to staying home, but one fear I have is that the many projects around the house begging for my attention will take up all my time and I will be as tired at the end as I am at the beginning. So instead of following my own inclinations, I am going to try to follow the schedule of someone whose life is an extended staycation—my dog, Detroit.


Dogs seem to have a handle on how to live a good life. Detroit’s days are made up of five main activities: food, exercise, sleep, work and play.

Food. I think Detroit loves food more than anything else. My sister says I feed Detroit too often, which may be true, but I am a grazer, and so it makes sense that my dog would be a grazer, too. In between meals, Detroit likes lots of little treats—me, too.

Exercise. Every morning we go for a long walk, and Detroit checks out her surroundings, greets neighborhood dogs, leaves little messages for dogs who will come along later, stalks squirrels until they run up trees and generally enjoys the fresh air. Although I impose this walk on her, Detroit seems to enjoy it. For me, though this walk is more stroll than exercise, so on my staycation, I plan to take extra walks and maybe even ride my bike.

Sleep. When we get back from our morning walk, Detroit stretches out on my lap and within a few seconds, her body is totally limp and she is sound asleep. I will follow her lead and take a nap.

Work. Waking up refreshed, Detroit gets to work. Her job is to patrol the backyard, keeping it free of squirrels, rabbits, cats and birds. It is an important job, and she can spend an hour or so clearing out all the undesirables.

detroit in yard


She also likes to take some time to sit and admire her work. IMG_3513

After a nap, I will tackle some house project. The list is long, and I will alternate between chores that are more and less enjoyable. More enjoyable projects for me include working in the yard, sewing and painting furniture; less enjoyable ones include washing windows, cleaning out the freezer and dusting. After work, it is time for another nap.

Play. Every day includes at least one extended play time when Detroit will get a toy and bring it to me for a game of tug-of-war or some fetching.

Detroit running

During my staycation, I plan to spend more time writing, praying and studying Polish. My play time will also include reading, gardening and perhaps exploring some nearby towns to poke around in shops or maybe go to a museum or two.

I figure if I pace myself and adhere to Detroit’s schedule, my staycation will be somewhat productive but much more restful and relaxing.

Did someone say apple fritter?

Living in l’Arche was a difficult experience for me for several reasons. One was that I went from living with one person to living with ten. Seven were Canadians and the others were from Germany, England and Ireland. The Englishman and the Irish woman did not get along, and their continual bickering provided a low-level background stress to everyday life.

The Irish woman cooked a lot and she loved sauces. I used to joke that she never met a food she could not improve with sauce. Cream and cheese sauces were not previously part of my diet, and my body did not adjust well, so I would nibble at meals and leave the table hungry.

Then there was the whole psycho-spiritual realm, where God was inviting me to stretch in ways that seemed like I was being asked to be a contortionist. I just was not very good at it; and I was not good at dealing with the fact that I was not good at it.

Between the stress and the lower caloric intake, I began to lose weight. By the end of my second month in l’Arche, I had dropped twenty pounds. It was not good, and I knew I needed to do something to stave off further weight loss.

Enter the apple fritter.

I don’t remember how I discovered this little wonder, but once I did, I was smitten. Before the apple fritter, I was committed to chocolate and would rarely eat snacks that did not contain chocolate. Why waste the calories? But there I was, cheating on chocolate with fried dough laced with fruit.

I had one free day each week and I usually spent it wandering around Winnipeg indulging my newly-discovered passion for apple fritters. I ventured into donut shops, grocery stores and bakeries in search of apple fritters. I am not proud to admit that some days I would have more than one. It was my secret, guilty pleasure.

When I left Canada, I thought I had left apple fritters behind.

But then I started a new job and found myself craving apple fritters. The stress of that job continued for several months, long enough for me to find several apple fritter dispensaries nearby.

In time, the job got easier and my fritter craving dissipated.

Fast forward to my move to Michigan. More stress, more weight loss, more apple fritter cravings. Back to the hunt for apple fritters.

Fortunately, apple fritters are not confined to the borders of Canada, and I am free to indulge whenever I want. (And, to my credit, I have not crossed into Windsor for a Canadian apple fritter fix.)

I have come to think of the apple fritter as my stress-o-meter. When I am craving one, I know I am highly stressed.

I also know there are healthier ways to deal with stress than high-calorie, low-nutrition fried dough (although I tell myself the apples count as a fruit serving), and one of my New Year’s resolutions was to cut back on my apple fritter consumption and concentrate more on exercise and meditation.

So far, I have only had one apple fritter in 2015—and I started Pilates today.